Is This the Future? Free Local TV Stations & Low Cost OTT Apps

– LG, Antennae Direct & Local Stations’ Association Spread the ‘Gospel of Free Broadcast TV’
– Add a Low-Cost TiVo DVR for $50 plus $14.99/Month
– Could This Combo Accelerate the Decline of Linear Pay TV?

Looking at the almost 150,000 fewer pay TV subscribers that Leichtman Research Group reported for 2014’s third quarter, we have to ask: in three years, how many residences will have a combination of free TV via antennae that receive 20-40 local TV stations plus several low-cost OTT services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime and the occasional movie rental or purchase from iTunes, Vudu or Amazon? Having cut the cord and watched only local OTA TV stations for six months, we always thought that there’d be a lot more cord-cutting if more consumers could see how many channels they could get for free with antennae and how good the video quality is. The combination of free TV from the local channels and low-cost OTT services is a powerful combination, especially when a DVR, also low cost, is added that records the local channels and has apps for most of the popular OTT services.

Antennas Direct, TVfreedom.org and LG will kick off a 25 city “Broadcast TV Liberation Tour” with 1,000 antennae being given away on Sunday, November 23, 2014 in Washington, DC. The tour’s objective is to show consumers the variety and video quality of local broadcast channels. See: http://www.tvfreedom.org/docs/antennaGiveaway.pdf

Antennas Direct says OTA broadcasts to antennae mean “No contracts, no commitments, no monthly fees…just free HDTV.”

The first 1,000 who attend the event will receive a free digital broadcast TV antenna (C2-V model) and will be able to enter a drawing for an LG 42-inch LED flat-panel HDTV.

TVfreedom’s members are mainly associations of local TV stations that the networks do not own. See: http://www.tvfreedom.org/members.php

Antennas Direct makes it own line of patented antennae. Its founder and president, Richard Schneider, started the business four years ago in his basement. He said his company “has sold more antennas in September this year than we did our first four years combined in business.” He added, “One of the fastest growing trends in video content right now is an increasing demand for free, high-definition broadcast television. We can’t wait to spread the gospel of free broadcast television across the country.”

The ClearStream 2V Long Range UHF/VHF Antenna that Antennas Direct
Is Giving Away on the Road Show

Antennas Direct’s $89.99 ClearStream 2V has a range of 50 miles and can be installed outdoors or indoors, such as in the attic. It’s a compact 20-inch x 12-inch (35-inch with raised dipoles for VHF signal reception). The company said, “No other antenna exists can rival its dual-band [UHF/VHF] performance” and it “offers the power and efficiency normally found in antennas up to 10 times its size.”

The Online Reporter asked Schneider how many antennae the company had sold in September. He said, “We shipped a little over 70,000 antennas in September. And yes there is a ‘wave’ for over-the-air. Our year-to-date units shipped are double versus 2013. There has been a growing demand for an alternative to pay TV, and digital over-the-air is a big part of that.”

Let’s see. During the third quarter the major US pay TV services lost almost 150,000 subscribers — an average of 50,000 a month — and Antennas Direct sold over 70,000 antennae in one month of the quarter. Perhaps there is a wave.

So much for Aereo!

The “cord never” crowd may not be buying antennae to watch the local TV stations but it’s certain that most “cord cutters” still want to get programs from the big four national TV networks, major sporting events plus local sports, news, traffic and weather — live TV. (Or, are they getting those on the Net?)

Most new TVs have an on-screen guide for local stations. However, one of the first things cord cutters will miss is a DVR and an advanced on-screen TV guide that lets them specify in advance to record a show or season of shows. The antenna tour could have invited TiVo, which has a DVR that is designed specifically for over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts including an on-screen TV guide and a unified search function that looks for programs that are broadcast, already recorded on the DVR or available on the most popular OTT services, not including iTunes and Vudu. It’s $49.99 with a one year commitment to TiVo’s service at $14.99 a month.

Up Front Costs $s
Antenna                    89.99
TiVo OTA DVR       49.99 optional for those wanting a DVR

Monthly Costs
TiVo service            14.99 optional for those wanting a DVR
Netflix                      8.99
Hulu Plus                7.99
Amazon Prime       8.25 99.99 a year including free shipping on thousands of items at Amazon.com
YouTube                 free

Plus the occasional purchase or rental from iTunes, M-Go, Vudu or Amazon
Many consumers will not subscribe to all three OTT services.

Consumers can register many…

 

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About the Author

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The Online Reporter is the weekly subscription-based strategy bulletin about the enabling technologies of broadband, Wi-Fi, HDR, home networks, UHD 4K TV & OTT services; identifying trends in the Digital Media space. Only a fraction of our material here is published here. To see 4 free copies, follow the links above or go to www.onlinereporter.com/trial-subscription/

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